The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is divided into paragraphs each dealing with different subjects. Paragraph 55, Paragraph 79 or Paragraph 80 deal with housing in rural areas and specifically list the tests that a new isolated house in the countryside would have to pass.
80. Planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:
- a) there is an essential need for a rural worker, including those taking majority control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside;
- b) the development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets;
- c) the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and enhance its immediate setting;
- d) the development would involve the subdivision of an existing residential building; or
- e) the design is of exceptional quality, in that it:
- – is truly outstanding, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; and
- – would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.
Innovative has been removed from the paragraph which provides a more progressive movement toward the exceptional quality of the project, reflecting the highest standards in architecture and enhancement of its immediate setting while being sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.
Bullet Point 4 of Paragraph 55:
Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances such as:
The exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling.
Such a design should:
- be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas
- reflect the highest standards in architecture
- significantly enhance its immediate setting
- be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area
The policy is design led and there are only a handful of approvals granted each year, that is why Squirrel Design’s achievement of obtaining two in the same year, including the first and only one in the county of Cornwall, is such a high accolade. To some it seems that obtaining a planning approval under Para 55 is an almost impossible task but the Squirrel design team do not see it that way; to them the right site, use of imagination, design skills, passion, artistry, experience, determination and sheer hard work are the elements that are required for success.
Squirrel love speaking to potential clients and would always be happy to advise.